Category Archives for "Fashion"

Apr 25

How To Create a Million Dollar Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Sales

Since I have done this several times I will speak from my own experience.  Having a million dollar or multi million business when run right makes money.  And the more millions in sales you do the more money you make.  Let’s face it, that’s why we do this.  We want to change the world but we need to make money while we do it or what’s the point?

In order to have a million dollar business you need to concentrate on 3 things:

  1. Product
  2. Sales
  3. Marketing

There are other details like accounting, shipping, and production but you are better off having someone else to oversee it while you concentrate on the 3 things that build your million dollar business.

First you have to have a kick ass product that people have to have.  It needs to stand out from the market and priced with value in mind.  Study your competition and see what you bring that’s different and make sure it fabulous.  If it’s dresses then make sure they are the best damn dresses out there.  Great ascetics, great fit, and amazing quality will get you there.

Secondly sales are paramount.  If you don’t sell you don’t have business.  Come up with a list of several hundred accounts to target and go after them.  That means send email blasts, direct mail pieces, and keep calling them till you get them on the phone so you can explain why it is in their best interest to buy you.  Remember stores need to make money, so how is your brand going to bring them profit?  If you are consistently profitable with an account, they will be a customer for life.

Lastly or maybe secondly (this could reverse) you must market the hell out of your product.  People like to buy brands and marketing helps create your brand. The difference between sales and marketing is marketing communicates the brand identity through ads, pr, and social media.  While sales closes the deal.

If you do all 3 well you are on your way to a million dollar business.

Apr 23

5 Quick Tips For Success In The Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

I don’t know about you but I am always looking for ideas on how to grow and increase my success in my business.  I love learning and sometimes I already know something but reading it again reminds me to do the something I know I should be doing.  So whether you know these tips or not are you doing them?  Because I suggest you do them.

  1. Do not get thrown by mistakes. In this business as in life we make mistakes.  It is what we learn from the mistakes that matter. Especially in the fashion business.  So if you find out that a color story you ran or a style you developed didn’t sell find out why and incorporate the knowledge into your future designs.  If you were in a trade show for several seasons and are not finding success figure out what is wrong and use that info to make adjustments.
  2. You need to experiment a bit with your line and test new ideas every season.  A collection will get stale if you don’t .  I have seen many companies who had great businesses fail because their collection was stagnant and didn’t evolve with the market.
  3. You need a grand vision for your business.  I don’t mean that all business should shoot for a billion dollars in sales.  You can decide to have a small but profitable business.  What I mean is you need to have an ultimate goal that you pursue everyday.  By looking at your vision everyday you will find yourself getting there faster.
  4. Do 3 things everyday that get you closer to your goals.  It is easy to get bogged down with administrative tasks and find out at the end of the day that you don’t accomplish anything that moves the needle forward.  By planning and scheduling and (of course) executing at least 3 things everyday you will attract more success.
  5. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.  There are many experts who have launched and built successful businesses.  Find them and learn from them.  Read books, watch videos, take courses, attend seminars.  If you want to learn I have a great membership plan for people who want to be able to email me any questions they have, attend monthly webinars, and get my monthly newsletter.  Click here to find out more.

Good luck and I wish you continued success in your business.

Apr 17

Attention Fashion Business Owners, I Need Your Advice

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

I work hard to post you valuable content and want to continue to raise the bar. I would love to get your advice as a business owner on a couple of things.

Specifically, I’m looking for what your issues are and what else you would like to see me write about.

It would be great if you could answer these survey questions and email your answers to me at I appreciate your feedback and ideas as I grow my business to help more people.
As a thank you for taking the time out of your day to do this I would like to gift you a one hour free consultation with me.

Survey questions:
What’s your single biggest challenge around your business?

What worries you?

What about this area keeps you up at night?

What are your biggest challenges?

What would you like to change / make better?

What’s the biggest result you want to have in this area?

What would help you achieve this result?

How much time would you invest into getting to this result?

How much money would you being willing to invest into that result?

What would you type into Google to find an answer to this challenge?



Apr 13

Do You Dream of Having a Fashion Business?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Vibe Consulting

Many of my subscribers have fashion businesses.  However there are a few that just have a dream.
They always wanted to be in the industry but for some reason or another they never pulled the trigger.  There are many reasons why they didn’t pursue it.  They got married and had children right away.  They didn’t have the confidence to go for it.  Or maybe they were talked out of it by well meaning parents.

Whatever the reason I’m here to tell you it’s not to late no matter what stage you are in your life.  I have people approach me that want to start a fashion business who are all different ages and some are in their late 60’s.  When other people are ready to retire they are ready for the next step in their life.  These people have a burning desire, a dream they never attained but feel if they don’t try their lives will never feel fulfilled.  I am talking about the fashion business, but this is true of any dreams you have.  Dare you go for it?

When someone is ready to make the leap into the fashion business many times that’s when they contact me.  They want to save time by learning from someone who has already done it.  Just because you don’t know the business it doesn’t mean you can’t learn.  The market is full of stories of people who took the chance.  A friend of mine started his accessory business by selling belts from his trunk. Another one started in a flea market and went on to open 20 stores. My favorite story is about Sara Blakely of Spanx who built a billion dollar business with an idea and $5,000.

Are you ready to take the plunge?  If so, go for it.  Make it happen.  Believe in yourself.

 “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

Apr 11

The Quickest & Easiest Way To Start a Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

You’ve dreamed of being in the fashion business your whole life.  But, things happen and you never did it.  Maybe your parents talked you out of it and into accounting because they thought it was safer.  Or you lived far from any city with a fashion center or you just didn’t know how to get started.

Well, now your ready.  You have an idea that you think is great and you are ready to pull the trigger.  My first recommendation is to find an expert in the field that you trust to help you navigate the waters.  You can waste a lot of time and money doing things that do nothing to enhance your business.

Next steps would be to find sample and production people to make your product.  My suggestion is you find a made in America company which will shorten your production and sample time.

The quickest and easiest way to start a fashion business is to sell direct to consumer.  Sell either through in home presentations, websites, or your own store.

Obviously getting into the business is more complicated then what I have explained here.  But in order to do things fast and streamlined involves cutting out certain steps that will make a difference.

Making in America saves long shipping time as well as sample development time.  If you buy fabrics and trims locally that will also save you time.  Selling direct to the consumer eliminates the long process of finding sales people who will then have to take time selling to retailers.  As you can see many months can be saved by following these ideas.

One important activity you cannot avoid, but can do at the same time as you do everything else, is marketing.  If you don’t market aggressively customers won’t know you exist and you will not create sales.  So don’t skip this important part.

Remember  “Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible!'”-Audrey Hepburn



Mar 30

Is Your Fashion Business Thriving or Surviving?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

I am always networking and meeting new people in the fashion industry.  Many of which are looking to become my client and work with me.  The other day I had a lovely conversation with a women who started her fashion business a couple of years ago.  While she was making money it was barely enough and she was barely surviving.  In fact she wasn’t sure she should continue or perhaps give up and look for a job.  The thing is she loved having her own business and didn’t want to get a job.  This got me thinking about how many fashion brands are just surviving as opposed to kicking butt and thriving.  Better yet what weren’t they doing to ensure they would thrive.  This is what I have learned over the years.

Companies that are just surviving live day to day.  They don’t look at the future and develop strategies to grow their businesses.  Many don’t even have goals and the goals they have are puny and aren’t big enough to generate excitement and drive.

Another problem I see is they don’t manage their business well.  They don’t know their numbers: sales, margins, inventory levels, cash flow , etc.  There needs to be processes in place in order to have a well organized business that runs efficiently.

Probably one of the biggest issues I see is they do not spend enough time on sales and marketing.  When I was speaking to the new business owner the other day she was shocked when I told her as a new business she needed to spend 80% of her time on marketing and when her business began to thrive she could reduce it to 30%.  (of course over time not all at once). The key thing to remember is always be marketing.  Many people forget this and they struggle day to day.  When you look at companies like Target and Nike who are very successful you never see them resting on their laurels.  They are always looking at ways to market their businesses.

That’s why they are always thriving.

Mar 23

What You Need To Know About The Fashion Industry Today

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

The most important thing you need to know about the fashion industry today is how important branding is.  Branding is the  practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.  This is done through product development and marketing.  Everything you do from designing your line to customer service to social media has to have a consistency that speaks to your brand and what your brand stands for.  In this day and age people buy brands they like and have an emotional connection to.

The next thing you need to understand is there is no one way to sell your product.  In fact many brands are disrupting the traditional models of distribution.  Before you sold wholesale to a store and they sold your line.  Then companies started their own stores making and selling their own product.  Think The Gap and J. Crew.  Sometime later the internet was invented and website selling became popular overnight.  Then we got smart phones and mobile became the go to.  Enter companies like Stitch Fix and subscription based selling was born.  Of course there are pop up shops, in home shopping, personal shoppers , etc.  So, think outside the box and really think through thee best way to sell your product.

Mediocre doesn’t cut it anymore.  In the 80’s when I first started in this business it was much easier to be successful.  Nowadays it is much harder.  You can no longer get away with being ordinary.  Your product, branding, and marketing must be top notch in order to stand out from the competition.  There are a lot of brands out there so if you want to grow a successful company bring your best to the market.

Don’t just work hard, work smart.  Keeping your expenses and overhead low is going to be key to maintaining profitability.  Nowadays you shouldn’t have a huge staff.  You need to be lean and mean.  So every part of your business has to run efficiently.  Recently I worked with a company where we moved staff around and not only reduced payroll by a third but by putting the right people in the right jobs we increased sales by 10%.

The business is changing all the time. So stay current by studying the industry daily.

Mar 21

The Danger of Starting Your Fashion Brand Before You Do This First

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

For those who read my blogs you know I speak to potential clients all the time.  Most of my blog ideas come from real issues that my clients bring to me.  What better to write about then the challenges these clients have.  Chances are many of you have the same issues.

Most of my clients are new emerging designers.  Many of whom have little of no experience in the industry.  They have no clue where to start.  So a lot of them start in the middle, rather than at the beginning.  Trust me there is a beginning.

You have no idea how many start ups come to me with product on the shelf and no idea on how to sell it.  They aren’t even sure who their customer is.   Or they form an entity, maybe design a logo, or even visit factories. But, still have no plan for their business.

Well, I am going to let you in on a little secret.  The very first thing you must do before starting your business is research!  Notice I bolded this.  That is how important it is.

You need t0 research the market you want to be in before you do anything.  Your research needs to include the following:

  • Your competition
    • Their prices
    • Fabrics
    • Styles
    • Stores they sell to
    • Demo and Psycho-graphics
  • What will make your product unique
    • Styling
    • Quality
    • Fabrication
    • Forms of distribution
    • Prices
  • Production
    • Where you will produce
    • How will you produce, especially the technical aspects?
    • What are the minimums and lead time?
  • Selling
    • What is the best way to sell your product
    • Will you go the traditional route of selling wholesale or maybe you will opt for a subscription based selling platform (think stitch fix)
  • Your customer
    • Who are they
    • What are their needs
    • Where do they shop
    • What are their demo and psycho-graphics
  • Fiance
    • How much money will you need
    • Where will you get it

Doing your due diligence (research) before you start a business increases your chance of success.  Knowing the answers to these questions will help prevent costly mistakes.

Mar 09

5 Tips You Should Know Before Starting a Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

Many emerging designers contact me after a couple of years into their businesses.  They start their businesses and then realize there is a lot they don’t know and they aren’t getting anywhere.  Most times it is because they are inexperienced and don’t know what they should be doing.  So here are 5 tips on what you need to know before you get started.

  1. What makes your product special? – There is a lot of product out there so you really need a reason to exist.  Figure out what that is and than be able to articulate that to whoever you speak to.
  2. Who is your competition?  – If you know who your product would hang with than you will have an easier time figuring out your competitive advantage.  You will also be able to figure out who you customer is and what stores you should sell to based on who your competition sells to.
  3. How are you going to produce your product? – Knowing this in advance is important so you will be able to price your line, make samples, meet minimums, allow enough lead time for production, etc.  You don’t want to take orders and then first have to figure out how to get them made.
  4. How are you going to sell your product?  – I have had people contact me with thousands of units on the shelf without a clue of how to sell it.  This is something you should know in order to put in place the strategies and activities needed to be done as your are starting your business.
  5. Remember cash is king. – There is no magic number of how much money you will need to start your business.  This is something you will need to figure out when you do your business plan.  But watching every penny is important.  You need cash in the bank for the unexpected challenges and opportunities that come up.
Mar 01

6 Things Your Fashion Branding Must Have

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

Great fashion branding makes your collection more desirable to your audience.  People have their go to brands that they like and seek them out when ready to shop.  Branding also informs.  When you think of Ralph Lauren or Versace you know what to expect from each company.  That is what good branding does.

The following are the 6 critical things your fashion branding must have.

  1. A strong message – I always tell my clients that the story of your brand is what creates an emotional connection to your customer.  So craft a compelling story.
  2. A consistent product – If you make young mens streetwear that has a skater vibe then you better make sure that the product you design reflects that style each season.  Your look can evolve as the market and customer evolves but to totally change your look confuses the consumer.
  3. You must stand for something –  I don’t necessarily mean socially but rather the DNA of the brand.  If you make high performance activewear then you have to be careful that your product has all the attributes that someone expects in high performance.  For ex: wicking, stretch, breathability of fabric. Anti-bacterial , etc.
  4. Your packaging needs to reflect your brand – Packaging has actually gained in importance in branding as consumers closely scrutinize products on the retail shelf before purchasing.  Good packaging that reflects the brand style helps the brand stand out.
  5. Social Media across different platforms – Cross pollinating with different social media sites creates a strong synergy.  Be careful that it has a consistent look and message and is done often.  Putting up a post on Instagram every couple of weeks will not cut it.  Have a social media strategy and stick to it.
  6. Think brand experience – Everything you do from your website to how you answer your phones helps create your brand.  Leave nothing to chance and insure that there is a plan for every aspect of your business.
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